Blinken on arrival of first flight with Afghan refugees to US: America has a longstanding tradition of opening our arms to immigrants

Early this morning, we welcomed our first group of Afghan special immigrant applicants to the United States under Operation Allies Refuge. Their arrival demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment to Afghans who put themselves and their families at great risk by working side-by-side with our service members and diplomats to build a better future for Afghanistan.

The first group of applicants to be relocated under Operation Allies Refuge has arrived at Fort Lee, Virginia, where they will finish the remaining steps on their path to becoming America’s newest immigrants—joining 70,000 Afghan special immigrants who have become permanent residents and started new lives in the United States since 2008. 

America has a longstanding tradition of opening our arms to immigrants, refugees, and others, and this flight stands as the latest example.  We, alongside our civil society partners and tens of thousands of volunteers across our nation, look forward to greeting our Afghan friends and partners.  It is my great pleasure to say to them: “welcome to your new home.”

Meanwhile, our work in Afghanistan endures.  The United States will continue to use the full force of our diplomatic, economic, and development toolkit to support the Afghan people in their pursuit of a just and durable peace and to preserve the gains of the past 20 years, particularly those made by women, girls, and minorities.  We remain committed to bringing a lasting end to over 40 years of conflict in Afghanistan and will work alongside the international community and Afghanistan’s neighbors to advance the peace process.

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